“How do you spot a church planter?” “What does a church planter look like?” Many believe the number one reason why church plants fail is the selection of the wrong planter. Therefore, wrestling with this question of what a church planter looks like is extremely important for those leading a church planting movement. Unfortunately, this question is often answered in two extreme fashions.
“MANIACAL MARINE” STEREOTYPE
The first is the Maniacal Marine stereotype. This stereotype of a church planter is that he is a flaming extrovert who goes into a strange city with his Bible under one arm and his wife under the other. He starts a new church from scratch without any support – financial or otherwise. Other terms: gung-ho, Superman or The Crusader can be used.
This stereotype represents only a small portion of our UPCI church planters. Actually, the vast majority of UPCI church planters are different. Some of our UPCI church planters benefit from an “adolescent” model of church planting. An adolescent church starts with a core group of at least a family or two. Numerous plants are now starting up as daughter works. Some younger UPCI church planters are teaming with a ministry partner and doing a team church plant.
The bottom line is that you do not have to be a “maniacal marine” to be a UPCI church planter. Our UPCI vision is to “plant all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.” This will require all kinds of church planters.
The second answer sometimes given to the church planting question is the “anybody” stereotype. It goes like this, “If one is committed and prays about it, anybody can plant a church.” Stories are told of unpromising people with low ministry skills who went out and surprised everybody by successfully starting a church.
We do praise God for His ability to use all kinds of people in ministry. But the reality is, church planting is demanding. Church planting requires a certain skill set. The following “Quick Survey” gives you a snapshot of what an effective church planter looks like. Work through the survey to see how many of these traits fit you.
THREE-STEP ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Desiring to be good stewards of the resources of both preachers and finances God has entrusted to us, the United Pentecostal Church presents a process of church planter assessment. It is important that any potential church planter spends the necessary time to get an accurate handle on his or her church planting potential.
STEP 1: SELF ASSESSMENT
The first step is self assessment. The objective of step one assessment is for you to discern if you have high, medium, or low potential as a church planter. This will help determine what areas need training before you start a church.
STEP 2:UPCI DISTRICT REQUIREMENTS
The second step of the assessment process is for the candidate to complete the normal application requirements of the district where the church is to be planted.